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Serena storms into Toronto semi-finals

sports Updated: Aug 22, 2009 13:34 IST
AFP
Serena storms into Toronto semi-finals

Second-seeded Serena Williams stormed into the semi-finals of the two million-dollar WTA Rogers Cup on Friday with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Lucie Safarova.

Williams, the reigning Wimbledon, Australian Open and US Open champion, made short work of the Czech qualifier, needing just 57 minutes to advance without facing a break point.

Williams fired seven aces past Safarova as she booked a meeting with fourth-seeded Russian Elena Dementieva, the woman she beat in an epic three-set semi-final at Wimbledon this year.

Dementieva, the 2008 Olympic gold medallist, rallied to beat unseeded Aussie Samantha Stosur 6-7 (3/7), 6-1, 6-3.

"It was not easy to play," Dementieva said of the windy weather. "On this kind of day you're just trying to be very aggressive with your footwork, trying to get very close to the balls and to get good control on the racket head, and just go for the shots."

Dementieva, winner of two WTA titles this year, said she knew she would have her work cut out for her against Williams.

"It looks like she's in good shape," Dementieva said. "She has played very powerful in all her matches this week, so it's going to be a tough challenge."

Williams was looking forward to facing Dementieva again. Dementieva had won three of the pair's prior four meetings prior to their clash at Wimbledon.

"I think it'll be a great match," Williams said. "She is obviously a great player, and our last match was really insane. I love playing her."

Saturday's other semi-final will pit Russian Alisa Kleybanova against compatriot Maria Sharapova.

Unseeded Kleybanova outlasted fifth-seeded Jelena Jankovic 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (9/7), 6-2 in a match lasting more than three hours.

"I feel pretty fresh right now," said Kleybanova, ranked 36th in the world. "I really hope that I'll be fresh (on Saturday) as I am now."

Jankovic, winner of the WTA event in Cincinnati on Sunday, admitted she was tired after thunderstorms delayed her Thursday night match against Kim Clijsters.

"I didn't have much time to recover, and obviously I was tired," she said. "My body wasn't as fresh as when I played in Cincinnati."

Sharapova, the former world number one who is still working her way back from a shoulder injury that sidelined her for 10 months, advanced with a 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) victory over 14th-seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska.